The true advantage of estate planning is the power it gives people to retain control over many aspects of life. It allows you to preserve your assets, provide for your family and control your healthcare through all stages of life and health.
In medical matters, most opt for a durable power of attorney for healthcare. With it, you can tailor your care as you age, but make sure you know what you really want. Asking yourself a couple of questions can help you get a good start.
Do I want life-prolonging treatments?
A durable power of attorney empowers you to accept or refuse life-prolonging treatments like artificial breathing. For example, if an illness or injury leaves you incapacitated and with little chance of recovery, you may want to decline such measures.
You may also complete your power of attorney without addressing end-of-life care. You can revoke the document anytime you wish in favor of one that better meets your current needs.
Who can carry out my instructions?
You may automatically think a spouse or adult child should act as your agent. Sometimes, the involved emotions can interfere with a family member agent’s ability to make objective decisions.
For example, an adult child may find it difficult to terminate life support or approve a risky but effective treatment. Make sure the individual you choose can withstand pressure from distraught relatives and act objectively on your behalf.
Once you can answer these two questions, you may find it easier to think deeper about what you want your power of attorney to do for you. Consider becoming more familiar with Washington estate planning laws to create a legally-binding plan.